Law lecturers create online community to support students


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Law lecturers have come up with an innovative way of adapting their teaching during lockdown – launching their own live show.

Russell Orr and Paul Omar’s Radio DMU has become a space where undergraduates and postgraduate students can not only learn about their land law module, but also created a community supporting each other during life in lockdown.

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It broadcasts up to three times a week for the different cohorts helping them as they carry out their final assignments, hosted on Blackboard Ultra. Listeners can call or text in questions for the hosts via the chat function, or email more detailed questions in advance.

So far, they believe they have broadcast to more than 200 students, with between 15-50 tuning in to each show. Russell, who researches property law, and Paul, who also consults for the EBRD, also plan to have guest stars on from the faculty in the future.

“From the very beginning, levels of engagement were fantastic across each of the modules we teach, and the sessions have been universally well received by all the students who have been logging in,’ said Russell. “It started off with us thinking that this would only be for a few days but they really liked it. The format is dictated by the students to be honest, we talk about the subject, general study techniques and chat through what they would like.

“For the most part it is work, but it’s also a social thing too. We share recipe ideas and Netflix recommendations. Genuinely, it has been enormously good fun and we’ll be carrying it on once we are back on campus.”

He said the format particularly suited shy students who normally would have held back from speaking up in class. And what is more, students who took part loved it so much they spread the word to their classmates.

Russell added: “Many have commented that the broadcasts have injected a sense of normality and structure into their week, and have helped them maintain a sense of connectedness with their peers, and DMU."

GDL student Samantha Coombes said: “I really enjoy these weekly online meets for a variety of reasons and mostly it helps reduce the anxiety we're all feeling amid these unsettling times.”

Paul added: “Unsurprisingly, the students have an amazing array of skills and interests such as photography, music, drama, community volunteering, all of which they have been increasingly willing to share. This has been coupled with weekly TV and film recommendations, recipe exchange, and all manner of mutual support and encouragement through the crisis.”

The programmes originally ran at the same time as their lectures would have been held, but soon changed to more convenient times for the students. Radio DMU runs on Thursdays for undergraduates studying Land Law and on Thursdays and Saturdays for full-timers and distance learners studying the graduate Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) which is a first step to pursuing a legal career after studying another degree subject.
Posted on Monday 11th May 2020

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